Forests and planted trees provide sustenance to many millions of people in Africa, particularly the vulnerable, women and children. Balancing utilisation of forest resources and growth of forests and trees forms the basis of sustainable forest management (SFM). Africa’s natural and planted forests are not sustainably supplying wood and other products to meet the needs of the growing population as well as the demand of national, regional and international markets. Serious shortages of wood are forecast in many countries for the near future and this has negative socio-economic implications.
In order to improve sustainable forest management (SFM) in Africa, there is a growing need for the planting of trees using genetically improved planting stock for establishment of industrial plantations, community tree woodlots and agro-forests. Further, expertise in tree breeding, tree germplasm management and investment could help build the capacity to produce good quality tree seeds and improve on other aspects of the tree seed sector, including management, logistics, deployment and the integration of new species and technologies. It is also prudent to have regional research programmes on tree breeding and improvement, germplasm management, and sharing of information on silvicultural aspects, environmental benefits, impacts on soils and biodiversity, pest/disease prevention, wood utilisation and economics.